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Airtel the only telco to have taken E-band spectrum

Bharti Airtel is the only telco to have taken E-band (71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz) band spectrum from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for meeting backhaul requirements.

Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal had way back in February 2022 asserted that it would go in for E-band backhaul spectrum with 5G radiowaves, as not doing so could put the 5G game in “serious jeopardy”.

Vittal termed backhaul as being “absolutely essential” for broadband infrastructure, and highlighted some “serious struggles” faced by the industry when it comes to both fibre and wireless backhauls.

“E band spectrum is a band of spectrum that can enable large amounts of backhaul from the mobile tower, to carry broadband traffic. Unfortunately, this is spectrum that has been sitting with the government and has not been allocated to the players,” Vittal had said.

Terming this “a waste of very precious resource”, he called for finding ways of bundling it with 5G spectrum so that it is available for use in order to build out 5G connectivity.

“I would go so far as to say that if E-band spectrum doesn’t come in, along with the access spectrum on 5G, the 5G game will really be in serious jeopardy,” he cautioned.

CT Bureau

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